HK exec hits Palace rebuff to hostage victims' kin


Posted at Aug 18 2011 11:28 PM | Updated as of Aug 19 2011 07:28 AM

HONG KONG, China (1st UPDATE) - A leader in Hong Kong's parliament was insulted over a statement by Malacañang that the former Crown colony's political opposition is using the survivors and families of the victims of the Manila hostage-taking crisis for its own interests.

"It is very insulting! We are elected politicians. Your President is elected by the people and we can not refuse when people come to us for help, so why other government would criticize if we help our people? It is completely incomprehensible and very very offensive," said Emily Law, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Democratic Party.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda was earlier quoted to have said that the August 23 hostage-taking incident is being used by Hong Kong politicians as fodder for the upcoming elections.

Law also expressed disappointment with Aquino's decision not to talk with the survivors.

Malacañang had said President Benigno Aquino III has repeatedly expressed regret over the incident, and steps have been taken to address lapses.

Eight Hong Kong tourists died in the 12-hour long hostage crisis.

Law believes that the victims of the hostage-taking were not given justice.

She said officials who led the botched rescue operation have not yet been made accountable.

"We don't want the relationship between Hong Kong and the Philippines to go sour, but if nothing is done, there will be cloud of doubt hanging over these 2 places," she added.

Malacañang officials said they understand the anger of the Hong Kong people and reiterated that the Philippine government has done enough.

"We've already stated that there was a plan for the families to meet Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima. We do not want to be drawn to Hong Kong politics. I hope that the Hong Kong politicians would recognize that," Lacierda said.

Filipinos in Hong Kong now fear that they may suffer another backlash over the crisis. - reports from Henry Omaga-Diaz and Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News